My sweet pumpkin Annabel,

You are four today! Oh my goodness. Last night as I hugged and kissed you goodnight I said, “Annie, the next time I give you a hug and a kiss, you’ll be four.” You said back to me, “Mommy, where has your baby gone?” You make me laugh all the time.

This has been a pretty amazing year for you. You started preschool, danced in your first recital, had your first haircut (and several more since) vacationed in Hawaii, visited Disneyland a bunch, went to your first college football game, and of course, the biggest thing of all – you became a big sister.

Watching you with your brother is one of my greatest pleasures in life. You are such an amazing big sister to your baby brother, and he absolutely worships the ground you walk on. I never in my wildest dreams would have expected you to be so perfect with James. You’ve never been jealous, yelled or acted out towards him. When he’s upset, you’re at his side faster than I am. You comfort him, you’re helpful with diaper changes and baths, and generally are the best big sister ever. He is a very lucky boy.

Your imagination blows my mind. I can’t believe the stuff you come up with. You’re constantly making up stories, games, songs, dances, shows, the whole shebang. Sometimes you confuse fantasy with reality, although you’re so convinced that your imagined scenarios are real that you almost convince me, too.

You are always moving – your favorite thing to say to me is “Mommy, let’s go on an adventure.” Even the simplest of tasks is an adventure with you, my dear.

You are the most amazing little girl (sorry, big girl) and I often can’t believe you are mine. I sometimes worry about how big your heart is – you want everyone to be your friend and I’m so afraid of the day someone won’t want to be. I’m sure that if that ever happens, you will be comforting me. You don’t let much get under your skin, and I hope you keep that skill for your whole life.

So, where has my baby gone? She’s grown into a strong, clever, creative, beautiful person that I love being around. You make me proud every day, and I can’t wait to see what this fifth year has in store for you. I’m pretty sure it will be your best yet.

I love you. I love you more. I love you most AND more. I love you forever. Happy birthday, baby.

Love, Mommy

jump for joy